Gladstone, Clackamas auto centers celebrate 75th anniversary
Fix Auto Portland East, Fix Auto Gladstone and Fix Auto Clackamas are all a part of a longstanding family business, spanning three generations, now celebrating its 75th anniversary of business.
Jim Eber joined Roth & Miller Autobody as a body man in 1955, a Portland business that first opened in 1946. Although Jim Eber left the business for a brief period to work for a local insurance company, he came back in 1963 and purchased the facility with his wife.
"Grandpa always loved cars, learning how they worked, the mechanics behind them and how to fix them," said William Bray. "Grandma was a partner from the start of the business but joined the shop full-time as a bookkeeper in 1971. Together, they built a reputation in the community as a hardworking, family-run body shop. Grandpa's passion was infectious, and I think that is how my Aunt Camille got into the business."
With four children, Jim and Doris Eber's third, Camille Eber, decided to enter the business. Like her father, Eber loved cars. She also loved the idea of operating and owning a business, carrying on what her parents had built, through good and hard times. She joined the team full-time in 1986 and worked diligently to learn the trade and make her way in a male-dominated field. In 2000 she was one of seven honored with the industry's "Most Influential Women" award.
Eber earned accreditations from the Automotive Management Institute and certification from the Masters School of Autobody. She grew the business to two locations and even became the first facility in the Portland area to earn the prestigious I-CAR Gold certification.
"As I grew older, I looked up to Aunt Camille, much like she looked up to grandpa and grandma," Bray said. "I remember as early as 5 coming into the shop with my mom because she wanted to visit my aunt... When I was 11, I asked if I could work there after school to earn some extra money. My mom would drop me off, or I would take the bus, just so I could spend time in the shop."
Bray enrolled in a senior co-op program in high school, so he could learn more about the trade. Spending time with his Aunt Camille, he learned the ins and outs of the business, from repair processes to office management. Much like his aunt, Bray is also an Accredited Automotive Manager, ASE-Certified and I-CAR trained.
William's brother James is now the production manager and William's wife, Iala, is the office manager. The team even partnered with another set of family operators, brothers Dave and Joey McCollum, to open their third facility, Fix Auto Clackamas.
William and Iala Bray have three children as well as twins on the way.
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